SLYDINITony Slydini was born in Italy in 1901as Quintino Marucci. Slydini was the son of an amateur magician who encouraged him to pursue sleight of hand at an early age. Slydini was attracted to the psycological of the art that most appealed to the young Tony in the beginning, which would later manifest itself in his magic in the form of precise and expert use of misdirection. He was also taken by the relationship between the magician and his audience, which fueled his desire to be a close-up artist.While still young, Slydini and his family left Italy to live in Argentina. It was there that Slydini began to experiment more seriously with magic. "In Argentina,", he says, "I created my own magic. There were many ways to go. I went the right way. I created magic."

Slydini worked in South America's vaudeville in South America for a time, but soon the Depression hit and work became scarce. In 1930, he moved to New York City, where work was also scarce, especially for a young man who spoke no English. Finally, Slydini found work in a museum on Forty-second Street. From there, Slydini found work in carnivals and sideshows.Once Slydini went to visit his sister in Boston, and began looking for work. Thanks for a lucky break, Slydini managed to impress an agent there and landed a job for $15 a day for a three-day job. His skill was apparent to those who saw him on those three days, including another agent who offered him another contract.

This strak continued for some time; Slydini ended up performing in Boston for seven years. But New York called to the now successful Slydini, and he moved back to there. It's important to note that, at this time, close-up artistry didn't exist as it does now. Back in those days, close-up was used merely as an introduction to platform or stage shows. Slydini was breaking new ground, but only he seemed to realize it. In 1945, in New Orleans, he began to see the new land on which he was treading.At that time, in New Orleans, there was a magic convention that Slydini used to show his own special brand of magic.

"The world didn't recognize the close-up art then," he says. "No one knew I had this beautiful thing. Even magicians didn't know what it was. When I went to New Orleans, I had a standing ovation for twenty minutes. 'Slydini's magic is different,' they said." Slydini, of course, didn't invent close-up magic; that had been around for centuries. But Slydini's style of close-up was something that had never been seen before. Slydini was one of the first to show close-up magic as an art rather than as a lead-in to bigger and grander illusions.

Slydini's magic was impromptu; rather than follow a set sequence of tricks, he allowed his audience and the situation to dictate his show. "I do a trick better," he said, "if I like the trick, but if they like it, and I don't like it, I will do it for them anyway."But to Slydini, magic was more than just tricks. "You have to know all the details. Something is happening all the time.

You have to understand every moment. You have to hold people, how to entertain them. You must be aware of the common sense of things, the movements of the body, where to look and how to sit or stand."A man of continental charm, sharp wit, undeniable skill and subtlety, Slydini delighted in performing, whether for laypersons or magicians. Bringing precision, grace, and intelligence to the table, Slydini could baffle them all as well as he entertained. Dick Cavett once asked Dai Vernon who could still fool him. Nobody, the Professor replied almost regretfully, then added with a smile, "Of course, Tony can." He died in 1991.



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